Degrees and Certifications:
Texas State University: Secondary Teacher Certification; graduate coursework in history State University of New York at New Paltz: BA Journalism / BA Political Science
Mr. Richard Restaino
AP English Language & Composition/English III
Room: 320 Phone Ext: 1131 Email: email@example.com
Office Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 7:50AM-8:20AM
The 2020-21 school year was certainly one for the history books, and the 2021-22 school year seems like more of a transitional one. We are not yet out of the woods with Covid-19, but at least we are on the road to recovery. I encourage all of my students and their families who haven't yet been vaccinated and are eligible to do so. That said, I am excited that we will be able to start the year in person this year, and I look forward to meeting my students and their families as the year goes on. I will be highly encouraging wearing masks in class for everyone's safety, but I'm sure most of us will agree that being together masked sure beats being alone and learning via computer. So, I hope everyone is ready to hit the ground running!
A bit about me: I teach AP Language and Composition and English III. I have been on staff at Elgin High School since 2008, teaching English I, II, and III, as well as Pre-AP English II. I am also certified to teach social studies and journalism. I see history and literature as being intertwined. You cannot fully appreciate or understand a piece of writing without also knowing something about the context in which it was written.
Prior to teaching, I worked as a newspaper reporter and editor. I am a New Yorker by birth and an adopted Texan by choice. I am married to EHS teacher Elizabeth Ivey Restaino. I enjoy writing, recording, and performing music, reading, travel, time with family and friends, and playing with our dogs Willy and Loretta. I'm also a grudgingly-willing servant of our cat, Dolemite.
My goal as an educator to help my students to become more independent, lifelong learners. This begins by asking students to start every unit of study from a place of personal curiosity. I have high expectations for participation and run class with structure, yet there is still plenty of room for open-ended questions and exploration. This is English-Language Arts. Therefore, students should expect to:
Read: We emphasize strategies for close reading and analysis of text, but also emphasize the pleasure of escape offered by reading, as well as work to develop appreciation for the beauty and utility of language.
Talk: We discuss ideas raised in texts, students' reactions and interpretations, and practice debating thoughtfully and respectfully. We often first begin to understand what we know and don't know about something by talking about it. In my class, there is no shame in not knowing something. All great things begin with asking a question.
Write: We pick apart the mechanics of writing, from grammar basics to complex research papers. We practice revising, editing, and rewriting. We also reinforce the idea that, while not all students will write for a living, the importance of clearly expressing one's self in writing is an essential and rewarding practice.
My classroom rules are borrowed from the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP). They are straight-forward, but that does not mean they are always easy to follow. However, if all us make our best effort to live them, we will look forward to our time together in class:
Work hard. We all have our academic strengths and weaknesses. We do not have a choice about natural ability. However, all of us have a choice about whether or not we try our best at any given task. Having a lack of talent but a strong work ethic will serve you much better in life than having all the talent in the world and choosing to be lazy.
Be nice. The "Golden Rule" says that we are to treat others the way that we wish to be treated. It has a long history, dating back as far as the earliest known written charter of law, Hammurabi's Code (1780, BCE). It is the foundation for all human rights law and is present in all of the world's major religions. It has not been improved upon as an ethical basis of how to behave.
If you are ever need information about class assignments, or if you have any other questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.